Tobacco Industry Watch

Timeline in USA v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., et al.

6/28/10 U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear appeals in the case, allowing Judge Kessler's judgment and the remedies upheld by the Court of Appeals to stand.

2/19/10 The government and public health intervenors (read the intervenors' petition) appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the Court to allow the disgorgement of past tobacco industry profits and funding of tobacco prevention and cessation programs as remedies in the case. The tobacco company defendants also appeal, asking the Court to overturn both the finding of liability and remedies imposed.

5/22/09 A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit issues its unanimous opinion upholding Judge Kessler's finding of liability and almost all of Judge Kessler's remedies, but denying additional remedies sought by public health intervenors and the Department of Justice.

10/14/08 Scheduled oral arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.

4/28/08 Public health intervenors file reply brief.

4/14/08 Government files reply brief.

2/27/08 Defendants file reply brief.

1/11/08 Defendants agree to maintain the Minnesota Depository through the end of 2008.

12/10/07 Public health intervenors file appellate brief.

10/10/07 Public health intervenors file a proposed stipulation requesting agreement that the tobacco companies continue to fund and produce documents to the Minnesota Depository until 2021, as ordered by Judge Kessler.

11/19/07 Government files appellate brief.

8/10/07 Defendants file joint brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. 

3/16/07 Judge Kessler denies motion by tobacco company defendants to continue to use deceptive terms such as "light" and "low-tar" in marketing cigarettes overseas.

11/9/06 Public health intervenors file notice of appeal with intent to appeal the remedies portion of Judge Kessler's final judgment and order.

10/31/06 U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit grants tobacco companies' request for a stay of Judge Kessler's judgment and order while the case is on appeal.

10/30/06 Public health intervenors and Government respond to Judge Kessler's request for additional information on corrective statements. Government also files Comparison of Defendants' Current Public Statements With Their Proposed "Corrective" Statements.

10/16/06 Public health intervenors and Government file proposed corrective statements and supporting memoranda.

9/8/06-9/11/06 Public health intervenors and Government file memoranda asking Judge Kessler to deny a request by the tobacco companies to continue to market cigarettes with deceptive names like "low tar" and "light" overseas.

9/1/06 British American Tobacco, Philip Morris/Altria, RJ Reynolds, Brown and Williamson and Lorillard filed documents asking Judge Kessler to allow them to continue to use deceptive terms such as "low tar" and "light" outside the United States and clarify other provisions in her order.

8/17/06 Judge Kessler issues Final Opinion finding the tobacco companies liable for violating civil racketeering laws by lying for decades about the health risks of smoking and marketing to children.

11/15/05 Government and Defendants must file comprehensive lists of all admitted exhibits.

10/17/05 U.S. Supreme Court declines government's appeal of a lower court ruling barring the disgorgement of past profits as a remedy under civil RICO.

10/9/05 Defendants file a brief summarizing the significant areas covered during witness testimony.

10/4/05 Judge Kessler accepts amicus brief filed by National Association of Attorneys General.

9/29/05 Government files a summary of the significant areas covered during witness testimony.

9/29/05 Defendants file their reply brief on affirmative defenses.

9/26/05 Public health intervenors file their reply brief.

9/26/05 Latino Council on Alcohol and Tobacco Prevention (LCAT) and other groups file amicus brief.

9/26/05 Government and Defendants must reply to the accepted amicus briefs.

9/19/05 Government files its reply brief.

9/14/05 Defendants file their response to the public health intervenors' brief.

9/9/05 Lung Cancer Alliance files amicus brief.

9/7/05 Defendants file their response to the Government's post-trial brief and a separate opening brief on affirmative defenses.

9/1/05 Judge Kessler accepts four amicus briefs filed by Regents of the University of California; Essential Action and others; Tobacco Control Legal Consortium and others; and Citizens' Commission to Protect the Truth.

8/31/05 Public health intervenors file Post-Trial Brief and Proposed Final Judgement and Order.

8/24/05 Government files its post-trial legal brief. Government's brief.

8/15/05 Parties file simultaneous post-trial proposed findings of fact. Government's Filing: Executive Summary only. Full filing (please note this PDF is 16 MB).

7/22/05 Public health groups are granted their Motion to Intervene in the Government's lawsuit against the major tobacco companies. Read the opinion. Read the order.

7/18/05 Government appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court a lower court decision that the civil racketeering law (RICO) does not allow disgorgement of past tobacco industry profits as a remedy in the case.

6/29/05 Six public health groups file a motion in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking to intervene in the federal government's lawsuit against the major tobacco companies.

6/27/05 Government files Proposed Final Judgment and Order.

6/25/05 Deadline for Government to submit detailed proposed remedies order.

6/8/05 Government tells the court it is seeking a smoking cessation remedy of $10 billion over five years instead of $130 billion over 25 years as recommended by its expert witness on cessation.

6/7/05-6/09/05 Government and Joint Defendants present closing arguments, ending the trial phase of the lawsuit.

5/24/05-6/02/05 Joint Defendants present remedy experts.

5/02/05-5/19/05 Government presents remedy experts.

4/20/05 On a 3-3 vote, full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit decides not to rehear the decision barring the government from seeking the disgorgement, or forfeiture, of illegal profits as a remedy.

3/4/05 Government files an appeal asking the full U.S. Court of Appeals to reconsider the ruling of the three-judge panel that disgorgement, or forfeiture, of illegal profits is not an allowable remedy. Read petition for rehearing.

2/16/05 Government files brief outlining some of the remedies it will seek if it wins the case, in light of the Appeals Court ruling, including the funding of tobacco prevention and cessation programs. Read United States Memorandum and United States Reply Memorandum.

2/4/05 U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rules 2-1 that disgorgement, or forfeiture, of illegal profits is not an allowable remedy. Read the ruling.

9/21/04 Trial begins.

7/21/04 Judge Kessler fines Philip Morris $2.75 million for deleting certain e-mails in violation of a court order regarding preservation of documents that may be needed as evidence.

7/18/04 Judge Kessler denies tobacco industry motion for summary judgment as to claims of nicotine manipulation and addiction.

7/15/04 U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia agrees to hear the tobacco industry's challenge of Judge Kessler's 5/21/04 ruling re. disgorgement claim.

7/15/04 Judge Kessler grants Government motion to strike tobacco industry defense that the Government needs to show that the companies took part in "operation or management" of a racketeering conspiracy.

7/7/04 Judge Kessler denies tobacco industry motion that it was shielded from RICO charges by the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement.

7/2/04 Government outlines its blueprint of evidence and its legal arguments in Final Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law. Part 1, Part 2.

6/25/04 Judge Kessler allows the tobacco industry to appeal her 5/24/04 ruling on the disgorgement claim.

6/1/04 Judge Kessler orders BAT to turn over the Foyle memo regarding document retention/destruction policies.

5/28/04 Judge Kessler denies BAT's motion to get itself out of the lawsuit.

5/24/04 Judge Kessler rules that the Government can seek a $280 billion claim for disgorgement of tobacco industry profits.

5/6/04 Judge Kessler denies tobacco industry motion to dismiss the Government's lawsuit on the grounds that there was no chance that the tobacco industry would commit future wrongdoing.

4/7/04 Judge Kessler denies Liggett Group's motion to get out of the lawsuit on the grounds that it had broken ranks from the other tobacco companies in 1997.

3/17/04 Judge Kessler denies the tobacco companies' motion to dismiss the Government's RICO lawsuit on the grounds that the lawsuit violated the U.S. Constitution's separation of legislative and executive powers.

3/10/04 Judge Kessler rules that the Government may seek to force the tobacco companies to give up profits earned before 1970.

2/24/04 Judge Kessler denies the tobacco industry's motion to dismiss the Government's claims that the companies advertised and promoted their products to children.

2/2/04 Judge Kessler allows a tobacco industry motion to limit the number of counts of racketeering that the Government can claim.

1/23/04 Judge Kessler denies a tobacco industry motion to dismiss the Government's lawsuit on the grounds that the Government knew about smoking's dangers for years and did little or nothing about it.

5/23/03 Judge Kessler denies the tobacco industry's motion to dismiss claims regarding advertising, fraud and deception on the grounds that the Federal Trade Commission had jurisdiction over these issues.

3/18/03 The Government files its Preliminary Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, over 1,400 pages that outline its evidence and legal arguments and support its claim to recover $289 billion in ill-gotten profits.

12/14/01 The Government outlines possible equitable remedies in response to Joint Defendants interrogatories.

11/01 The Government files hundreds of pages of written testimony from its expert witnesses.

9/28/00 Judge Kessler rules the Government can go forward to try its case under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), but dismisses two claims seeking reimbursement for tobacco-related medical expenses under Medicare and other federal government health care programs (the judge ruled that statutes do not permit this type of recovery). Read the ruling.

9/22/99 The Government files its lawsuit against the major tobacco companies.